Michael Bieleski – Soul in the New Testament

In the New Testament the word “soul” is sometimes used to translate the Greek word psuche. However, psuche is also translated by other words as well. For example, it is translated about forty times1) in the New Testament as ‘life’ or ‘lives’. Jesus says that we are not to worry about our life which suggests the present life experienced in bodily form.2

Therefore, understanding the way in which such words are translated has important implications. Sometimes the same Greek word is translated by different English words. Sometimes the same English word is used to translate different Greek words in different contexts. Sometimes an English word remains even though it could be replaced by a more effective equivalent. The task of the translator is to find a word that matches the intent of the writer by taking into account the context in which that word is found.

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